How to Fix Outlook Cannot Synchronize Subscribed Folders Error?

Dec 15, 2023 | By Deepak Singh Bisht

Are you using Microsoft Outlook for your emails and running into an error that says " (0x800CCC0E): Outlook cannot synchronize subscribed folders error"? You're not alone. This common problem mainly affects people using IMAP accounts with Outlook. In this post, we'll discuss some simple steps to fix this error.

What does Synchronize Subscribed Folders mean in Outlook?

In Microsoft Outlook, particularly when using an IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) account, synchronization is a crucial process. It involves maintaining consistency between the emails on your email server and Outlook's local copy. This synchronization ensures that any action you take on your emails - whether it's reading, deleting, or organizing into folders - is reflected both in the server and in your Outlook application.

Subscribed Folders in this context refer to the specific folders in your IMAP account that Outlook is set to keep in sync. These include your Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts, and any custom folders you've created. By subscribing to these folders, Outlook continuously updates changes made in these folders across the server and your local device.

Why the "Outlook Cannot Synchronize Subscribed Folders" error occurs?

Unstable internet connection: Outlook's ability to sync effectively depends heavily on a stable internet connection. Fluctuations or interruptions in your network can prevent Outlook from syncing with the email server, leading to this error.

Firewall interference: Firewalls are designed to block unauthorized access to your system. Sometimes, they may mistakenly identify Outlook's synchronization attempts as suspicious, disrupting the connection to the email server.

Antivirus software conflicts: Antivirus programs, while protecting your system, can interfere with Outlook. Particularly, the email scanning feature in many antivirus programs can conflict with Outlook's operations, causing synchronization issues.

IMAP settings misalignment: The error can also occur if there's a mismatch between the IMAP settings in Outlook and what your email server expects. This misalignment can disrupt the syncing process.

Advanced troubleshooting techniques

Check advanced Outlook settings: Dive into Outlook's settings, such as send/receive groups (under File > Options > Advanced > Send/Receive), and ensure they are correctly configured for your IMAP account.

Network troubleshooting: Assess your network settings, verify your DNS configurations, and ensure that your router or modem isn't blocking Outlook's access to the internet.

How to resolve Outlook Cannot Synchronize Subscribed Folders error?

Encountering the 'Outlook cannot synchronize subscribed folders' error can be a significant hindrance to maintaining an efficient email workflow. Fortunately, this issue is typically resolvable with some troubleshooting steps. Whether it's due to network instability, software conflicts, or configuration discrepancies, the following methods are designed to systematically address and resolve the underlying causes of this synchronization error.

Method 1: Verify your internet connection

The internet is essential for email communication. Without a stable connection, Outlook's syncing process can't function properly, leading to the error. Therefore, your first step should be to check your internet connection and ensure its stability.

Method 2: Interact with your Firewall

If the error persists, your firewall may be obstructing Outlook's syncing process. Temporarily disabling it can help you identify if it's the cause of the problem. However, remember to enable it again once you're done to maintain your system's security.

Method 3: Scrutinize your Antivirus software

Antivirus software, in its quest to protect your system, can sometimes interfere with regular programs like Outlook. Temporarily disabling the email protection feature in your antivirus software will help determine if it's causing the error.

Method 4: Remove and Re-add the Email Account

If the strategies above don't help, you may need to consider removing and then re-adding your email account. This method has been known to resolve the error for many users. But remember, it's crucial to back up your data before you remove your email account to avoid potential data loss.

Step 1: Remove the Email Account

  1. Open MS Outlook.
  2. Go to the File menu.
  3. Click on Account settings and select Account settings.
  4. Select the email account you want to remove and click the remove icon.
  5. From the Account Settings popup, click on the Yes button to confirm.

Step 2: Add Email Account

  1. Open MS Outlook.
  2. Go to the File menu and click on the Add Account button.
  3. Enter your name, email, password, and retype the password.
  4. Click on Next to proceed.
  5. Once the account is configured properly, click on the Finish button.

Method 5: Perform a Clean Boot

If none of the methods above work, performing a clean boot may help. A Clean Boot is similar to opening Windows in Safe Mode with fewer drivers and startup programs. This helps you understand if any other program is interfering with Outlook. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Open your system as an administrator.
  2. Type msconfig in the search bar and select System Configuration.
  3. From the System Configuration window, select the Services tab.
  4. Select the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox, and then click on the Disable All button.
  5. From the System Configuration window, select the Startup tab and select Open Task Manager.
  6. Now select every item in the Task Manager and click on the Disable button.
  7. Close Task Manager and restart your system.
  8. Open MS Outlook and add the email account again.

By following these methods, you should be able to rectify the "(0x800CCC0E): Outlook cannot synchronize subscribed folders" error.

When all else fails

If none of these methods work and the error persists, it might be a problem with your OST file. To repair your OST file, you may need to use a third-party OST Repair tool. One such reliable software is the SysCurve OST to PST Converter. This user-friendly tool can repair OST files and convert them into PST format. It also provides an advanced preview mode where you can see all your OST file data.

If you're hesitant about purchasing the full version, you can try the free demo version which allows you to export the first 20 items from each folder. The software is compatible with all versions of Windows and supports all versions of MS Outlook, including the latest Outlook 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

What could be causing the 'Outlook cannot synchronize subscribed folders' error?

Usually, it's due to internet issues, firewall/antivirus software blocking Outlook, or mismatched email settings.

Can network configurations beyond Wi-Fi stability impact Outlook's synchronization?

Yes, other network configurations like VPN settings, DNS configurations, and even some ISP restrictions can affect Outlook's ability to synchronize folders.

Is it safe to disable Firewall and Antivirus temporarily for troubleshooting?

Temporarily disabling these security measures is generally safe for troubleshooting purposes, as long as you're not accessing suspicious websites or downloading files during that period. Always re-enable them once you're done.

How often should I update my Outlook to avoid such errors?

Regular updates are crucial. It's recommended to set Outlook to update automatically or manually check for updates at least once a month.

What precautions should I take before removing and re-adding my email account?

Always back up your emails and settings. Ensure you have all login credentials and server settings handy, as you'll need them to re-add your account.

How can I tell if the issue is with my email provider and not Outlook?

Try accessing your email through a web browser or another email client. If the issue persists across different platforms, it's likely an issue with the email provider.

What steps can I take if I suspect my OST file is corrupted?

Outlook has an inbuilt repair tool called SCANPST.EXE that can fix minor corruptions in OST files. For severe corruption, third-party tools like SysCurve OST to PST Converter might be necessary.

Can large mailboxes cause synchronization problems in Outlook?

Yes, very large mailboxes can slow down or hinder synchronization. Regularly archiving old emails and maintaining a manageable mailbox size can help prevent this issue.

Is it possible to synchronize only selected folders in Outlook?

Yes, you can choose which folders to synchronize in Outlook's IMAP settings. This can be helpful if you want to reduce data usage or focus on key folders.

What to do if Outlook synchronization settings are grayed out?

If synchronization settings are grayed out, it may be due to your account type or administrative policies. For Exchange accounts, contact your IT administrator. For personal accounts, ensure you are using an IMAP or Exchange account, as POP accounts have limited synchronization options.

Can network firewalls at workplaces affect Outlook's performance?

Yes, corporate firewalls can restrict certain types of network traffic, impacting Outlook's ability to synchronize with the server. If you suspect this, consult your IT department for assistance.

What role do Outlook add-Ins play in synchronization issues?

Add-ins can enhance Outlook's functionality but may also cause conflicts or performance issues, including synchronization problems. If you're experiencing sync issues, try disabling add-ins to see if it resolves the problem.

What can I do if none of the mentioned methods work?

If all else fails, the issue might be with your OST file. In such cases, consider using a third-party tool like the SysCurve OST to PST Converter to repair and convert your OST files.

The Final Word

We've explored the 'Outlook cannot synchronize subscribed folders' error, its possible causes, and a variety of solutions to tackle this issue. Remember, it's crucial to back up your data before trying these methods, especially when removing and re-adding an account, to prevent data loss. If you continue to encounter the error, professional tools like the SysCurve OST to PST Converter can help.

Maintaining a seamless Outlook experience requires occasional troubleshooting, but with this post, you're well-equipped to handle this particular error. So, return to efficient emailing and let Outlook be the productive tool it's meant to be!

The Author

Deepak Singh Bisht

Deepak Singh Bisht

Content Lead |

Deepak Singh Bisht is a dedicated IT professional with over 9 years of experience, is a key member at SysCurve Software for the last 5 years. His expertise lies in email migration and data recovery, with a focus on technologies like MS Outlook and Office 365. Deepak, who also delves into front-end technology and software development, holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Applications.

More from Deepak Singh Bisht